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African Governments Collaborate to Enhance Aviation Safety and Sustainability

ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar emphasized the critical juncture Africa faces in achieving its aspirations for air connectivity

African Governments Collaborate to Enhance Aviation Safety and Sustainability

The eighth edition of Africa-Indian Ocean (AFI) Aviation Week concluded with regional governments pledging increased cooperation on implementing aviation safety, security, and sustainability standards. The event, hosted by the Government of Kenya, gathered Council Representatives, and other Representatives from various States and organizations in Nairobi from August 21 to 25, 2023.

Key Outcomes:

  1. Synergies for Sustainable Development: ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano emphasized the importance of aviation for the sustainable development of nations. Representatives from States and organizations came together to build synergies in Africa’s aviation sector.
  2. Capacity Building Focus: A significant outcome was a commitment to partnership around capacity building, particularly to support the next generation of aviation professionals (NGAP). States recognized the practical application of the ICAO Aviation Training and Capacity-Building Roadmap and the importance of continuing support for ICAO training and workshops. NGAP and gender equality were underscored in national aviation planning.
  3. Air Navigation Enhancement: The capacity of Africa’s air navigation systems was addressed, with a request to the African Union Commission to coordinate the establishment of a task force on “the seamless sky for Africa.” Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) was highlighted as a key area, with digitalization of services seen as a priority.
  4. Regional Cooperation: To foster collaboration between States with varying safety and security oversight capacities, ICAO Regional Offices were tasked with facilitating cooperation through regional mechanisms. Focus projects aligning with ICAO’s aviation safety and security global plans were emphasized.
  5. Cybersecurity and Safety: Participants identified the ICAO Cyber Security Action Plan and the Aviation Safety Alliance for Africa (ASAA) initiative as priorities. Ratification of the African (Malabo) Convention on cybersecurity and personal Data protection (2014) gained significance.
  6. Support Initiatives: States were encouraged to engage in the ICAO Assistance, Capacity building, and Training for SAF (ACT-SAF) Programme and participate actively in the Third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels in November 2023, with a focus on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) investment and production.
  7. Facilitation and Air Transport: Full implementation of ICAO’s facilitation and air transport guidance was highlighted, especially concerning the liberalization of air services and user fees. States were encouraged to promote the benefits of the Yamoussoukro Declaration Concerning the Liberalisation of Access to Air Transport Markets in Africa and avoid protectionism.

In his closing remarks, ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar emphasized the critical juncture Africa faces in achieving its aspirations for air connectivity. He urged translating progress into effective policies, programs, and actions to connect Africa and the world.

The event also provided an opportunity for ICAO’s leadership to advocate for its priorities at bilateral and multilateral side meetings. Kenya’s commitment to regional cooperation was demonstrated by the announcement of a new headquarters for ICAO’s Eastern and Southern Africa (ESAF) Regional Office in Nairobi and a voluntary donation of USD 200,000 to support the ICAO AFI Security and Facilitation (SECFAL) Plan.

The collaboration during AFI Aviation Week reinforces Africa’s determination to ensure safe, secure, and sustainable air transport development.